Monday, July 2, 2012

Decisions on aging parents.

Where do you start when you know something is wrong?

Saturday afternoon we had Ren's birthday party.  For the first time in ages, my brother-in-law came down to join in the fun.  He also brought his super dee duper adorable daughter "R".  O-M-Goodness she is a cutie.  Anyway, after the party wrapped up and people headed home, Chuck and Dave (the BIL) sat down with me to have a chat.

It was a hard one.

We were chatting about the Mother-in-law.

We were chatting about her memory loss.

We were chatting about time.

We were making decisions and discussing something that is painful, hard, and probably one of the worst decisions any child should have to make.

We were deciding what steps are needed to get a diagnosis.

We believe the MIL is in the early stages of the dreaded "Alz" disease.  Alzheimer's.

After reviewing some information and facts about it, the boys were finally admitting to something they have been sweeping under the rug for a while.

The MIL is getting worse.

Now, to those who don't see or speak with her all the time, she probably seems normal.  However, she is forgetting things more and more often.

For example:

  • I just went on a 4 day trip.  During that trip A stayed with my Mom.  MIL didn't notice she was gone (even though we verbally told her AND wrote it in a note) until day 2.  Then she panicked.

  • She forgot my name.  I've been part of her family for 13 years and she couldn't remember my name when I got home.  She called me 'that woman' instead.

  • She had told Chuck she was staying for Ren's birthday party, then told Dave she was staying for the party over the phone an hour later.  When I got home 2 hours after that she was all packed and left about 5 minutes after I walked in the door.  I didn't even get to ask any questions or anything.  It was odd.

  • She talks about things that happened several years ago like they were yesterday.  Asking for reactions from us and advice on how to handle the situation.

Chuck and Dave decided it was time for a doctor to intervene.  MIL lives with Dave, so much of this responsibility is going to fall to him.  Chuck doesn't like that since he is the more responsible of the two, but they also live 2 1/2 hours from us so it's not convienent for Chuck to take her to the doctor.

Oh, and did I mention she thinks she's just fine?  Yeah, she 'went off' on my Mom while I was gone.  She was so upset and saying that she isn't crazy or losing her memory.  Then turned around to my Mom and ask why she was in the house.  It was as if the previous tantrum hadn't happened.  Mom said it was worrisome.

The message on our voicemail was downright scary.  The MIL called and ranted and raved and cried and yelled at Chuck over the phone.  Then when Chuck called her back (approx. 30 minutes later), she had no idea what he was talking about and said she would NEVER do something like that.

It's worrisome indeed.

The decisions Chuck and Dave made this weekend were hard.

They were both upset.

They know the fight that lies ahead.

They know the time it takes to take care of her.

They know.....and they are mad.

Dealing with and making decisions about aging parents isn't fun.  I won't sugar coat it.  It's painful.  It hurts.  It makes you cry and you need understanding.  Only someone who has dealt with their own aging parent will understand.  Those with young or healthy parents have no idea.

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